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How the New York Times's watchdog coverage of a supplements company could be transposed to the New York City Regional Center and EB-5

A lengthy 6/21/11 New York Times article about Senator Orrin Hatch R-UT), headlined Support Is Mutual for Senator and Utah Industry, described his relationship with the supplements industry, which wants freer reign to make some self-serving claims.

One passage jumped out:
But Xango’s record illustrates how companies eager to exploit the law can go too far.

In 2006, federal regulators warned Xango that brochures improperly promoted mangosteen juice as a disease cure, not just a healthy option. Xango is among more than a dozen Utah companies cited by federal regulators over the last decade for apparent violations of the law.

Xango, whose executives are the single biggest Utah-based contributors to Mr. Hatch’s political campaigns and have drawn Mr. Hatch to its headquarters to down shot glasses of their juice, blamed a marketing company that had printed the brochures. The company also insisted that it was closely monitoring distributors to make sure they did not make inappropriate claims.

But in his talk at Xango in March, [distributor] Dr. [Vaughn T.] Johnson — who lectures across the country at other company events — used some of the same language the F.D.A. had cited in its 2006 warning letter, and he referred the sales agents to a nearby company that still sold brochures making the improper claims.
(Emphases added)

The EB-5 analogue

Why did I highlight the above?

As I wrote 12/27/10, it's stunning how George Olsen, managing principal of the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC), could profess to be shocked, shocked that the firm's affiliates in Asia were deceptively marketing green cards in exchange for investments in Atlantic Yards.

As Reuters reported:
At a recent seminar in Seoul, an agent for the Kookmin Migration Consulting Co., working on behalf of the New York City Regional Center, told would-be investors if they invested in the company's latest project their permanent green cards were "guaranteed." He also implied the investors would be financing the construction of the new home for the New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team.
In a subsequent interview with Reuters, George Olsen, managing principal of the New York City Regional Center acknowledged the claims were "not accurate" - the investors will finance the rebuilding of a rail yard and some related infrastructure near the new basketball court -- and promised he would jump on Kookmin "with two feet."
"But that's what's frustrating," Olsen said. "You can't be at every seminar, you can't be at every meeting, you can't be in the room when one of these people is talking. To raise $100 million, you have to get 200 investors. That's a lot of people. So there's a certain amount of mass marketing that has to go on.
Nah. As I pointed out December 23, those same claims were made by Olsen's own point man in China, Gregg D. Hayden.

More here, including audio.

Comments

  1. Need for mass marketing and lack of control can't excuse fraud. Securities are mass marketed to potential investors every day without materially misrepesenting those investments, thanks in large part to federal laws prohibiting such conduct, like the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

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